This week had lots of ups and downs, but overall there was lots of progress. I survived my first round of mediocre training runs, slacked on my yoga practice, but nailed my long run. This was also the second week that I ran 6/7 days, which is part of my goal as I keep building a base. It was humid in my neck of the woods through Thursday, so most of the runs I did earlier in the week were ROUGH. I’m talking like 80% humidity, which was ugly. I also had to front load my week with my workouts (particularly days where I did double workouts) because I had a super busy weekend with a wedding, bridal shower, a race, and a 70th birthday party! Yes, I fit a race in that craziness – but it wasn’t a running race! It was an open water swim on Lake Nockamixon.
Monday, 7/6 – 3000 Meter Swim + Strength/PT/Core
My husband was off of work for the holiday, so I got in the pool early and cranked out my swim, followed by strength and my physical therapy exercises. I did some drills and some MYRTLs on the indoor track to make up for any missed sessions in the previous week. I’ve been using the indoor track for drills a lot lately (although it takes 17 laps to run a mile on it, so I never actually run on it!):
We had a breakfast date and tried a new restaurant called The People’s Kitchen and I had one of the best omelets! My husband got this macaroni and cheese skillet (for breakfast!) that had a hash brown crust and a sunny side up egg on top. To die for. We spent the day looking at all things kitchen related. I didn’t have time to do core at the gym, so I did it when I got home from our “date”.
Tuesday, 7/7 – 9 Mile Fartlek Run w/8×2 minutes @ 10K pace + Pole Fitness
My first sort-of run fail for Hartford training! I wouldn’t call it a total fail. I finished the workout and it was close to what I’d intended to do. This is where training myself gets a little tricky. Part of the problem is that I don’t know what 10K pace is. I could use my current 10K PR pace, which is 6:42/mile. McMillian says I should be able to do a 10K @ 6:39/mile based on my 3:14 in Boston, or 6:23/mile using my 3:06 marathon PR. If I’m training for a 3:05, it’s a 6:21/mile. And if I really want to get ahead of myself, it’s a 6:10/mile for a 3:00 marathon.
My thoughts leading into the workout were that I’d most likely be in the 6:30-6:42 range. Ideally, I wanted to be anywhere from my PR pace (6:42) to my goal 10K PR pace (6:21) to gauge where I am right now. I also factored in that this was my first speed workout for Hartford, I just ran a race on the Fourth of July, and I haven’t gotten close to my marathon PR in a year. It was unreasonable to expect to hit the faster paces, but if I could pace myself correctly I might be able to hit them for a few of them. There was also the humidity factor. When I walked out of my house, it was sunny, HOT, and extremely humid – 80% humidity, to be exact (I didn’t check it until after the workout because I didn’t want it to affect how I did the workout). I headed to the Plainfield Trail and began the run. At first, I felt really good. Too good, because I went out too hard – and I paid the price:
Interval 1 – 6:14/mile
Interval 2 – 6:26/mile
Interval 3 – 6:33/mile
Interval 4 – 6:48/mile
Interval 5 – 6:30/mile
Interval 6 – 6:33/mile
Interval 7 – 6:41/mile
Interval 8 – 7:01/mile
I warmed up for a mile, and then for the remaining eight miles I would begin each mile with my 2 minute interval. I knew I went out too fast, but I felt really good in the beginning. My thinking was, eh, they are only 2 minute intervals, I can do anything for two minutes! I recovered from the first one and when it was time to pick it up again, I had a side sticker. Uh oh. The second one was more of a struggle than it should have been, and so it got worse from there. I had two (three, if you count the one that was too fast) that weren’t in my goal range at all and my last one was really ugly – I clearly also failed at the fast finish thing on this run.
I didn’t want to be too aggressive with my goal pace for this workout, but I also didn’t want to be too easy. One thing I learned while working with a coach was that sometimes he’d give me a workout with paces that looked impossible, but I’d hit them. Other times, I would get upset and frustrated during the workout. I don’t want to be on the easier side of things and not push myself, but I don’t want to be too aggressive that the workout is impossible to complete. One positive factor was that I didn’t get down on myself during the workout because I didn’t have someone to answer to. Like when I hit that first interval that was slower than my goal range (6:48), I didn’t just give up and decide to just do the rest as a general aerobic run. Before, I think I was afraid that one missed interval was going to be a disappointment to my coach (he NEVER made me feel that way so I don’t know why I thought that) so I would give up as soon as it didn’t go the way it was supposed to go. But one thing I also have to remember is that these are goal paces. If I could hit my goal paces in week 2 of my training, then I would already be running a 3:05 marathon.This is a called a training plan for a reason – I’m training my body to get faster.
And yes, part of the issue could have been the humidity factor, because last week I was able to crank out some decent runs and some faster paces. I don’t want to use humidity as an excuse because it’s possible that you could show up on race day and have to race in humidity – it happened at Grandma’s Marathon this year. I have another workout similar to this one in two weeks, and I now have an idea how I’d like to tackle it. Overall pace for this run, 7:31.
I’d already done a 30 minute core workout before the run, and I headed directly to pole class, which was fun and challenging. Learned another new trick, just ignore the look of sheer terror on my face from being upside down:
I live in the same town as Rodale, the publishing company that’s responsible for Runner’s World. They have this farm in the area called the Rodale Institute. If you are a CSA member and purchased a share, you can go every Tuesday and pick whatever veggies are in season that week. Depending on your share depends on how much you get. I don’t have a share (yet) but my friend, Dina, does. She was going on vacation and wouldn’t get to use her share so she gave it to me to experience this week. It was freaking awesome and I’m definitely getting my name on the list for next year!
I made sure to get on my mat and stretch/foam roll for about 45 minutes since my legs felt pretty beat up from my morning torture session.
Wednesday, 7/8 – 10 mile General Aerobic Run + 25 Mile Bike + Pole Fitness
Another super humid day, another terrible run. We had 80% humidity but it wasn’t super hot and there was no sun. It was really weird. My legs didn’t feel awful other than some soreness I’m having lately at the top of my right hamstring – right at the attachment. It’s nothing new, something I’ve always had in that hamstring that comes and goes. Speed aggravates it, so I expected it to be sore on my run today since I ran hard yesterday.
Maybe it was the humidity. Maybe it was the tired legs. Or the lack of thought I put into my fueling before this run (I had no breakfast- just a cup of coffee and a little water). Who knows. I headed to Saucon and had plans to run mostly the trail, maybe the roads depending on how I felt. I wanted to keep the pace in my general aerobic range (7:14-8:14). I decided to warm up on the trail, and when I looked down at my first mile, I saw 8:23. Uh oh. I was able speed it up to my general aerobic range for a few miles, but it felt hard. I had a long way to go, so I just relaxed and headed for the hills. Mostly it was hard to breathe, so I figured if I couldn’t speed it up, I might as well get some strength work in on the hills. The climbs in Saucon Valley are crazy: The first significant climb is about a half mile, second is almost a mile and a half, and the final big one is a mile long. For the most part, there is no relief. I also decided that if I wasn’t going to be in my goal range, I wouldn’t take any breaks. Yup, you heard that right. Breaks.
Here’s another little secret/bad habit that I’m working on breaking: I always used to run without stopping regardless of my pace. When I started working with my coach and he started giving me more aggressive paces than I was used to, sometimes I would recover for a few seconds every so often on days where I wasn’t quite feeling it, just to make sure my watch registered what pace I needed it to say. This began happening more and more frequently. I think I was afraid he would think I wasn’t as fast as he thought I was so I didn’t want to report back and say I couldn’t do the workouts he gave me. But I never did this before. I almost think having a coach made me a little soft. Again, not because he was a bad coach or ever made me feel inadequate – I just think I’m afraid to say I failed at something and it ended up with me failing on a larger scale (in my races). I didn’t really talk about these little things before but this is a blog and now I’m my own coach. If I can’t be honest here, where can I be honest? I need to hold myself accountable and these little weekly reports take the place of the progress reports I would give my coach. I’m being as real as I can about my training because I want to be able to look back at what I did so I can see if it worked. So bottom line – I didn’t have it today. I averaged 8:35 overall.
One thing I did do was a fast finish mile! It was significantly faster than every single mile I clocked on this run and it started with a huge uphill. I was excited about that. I was dripping wet when I was done because it was so sticky out. I did some drills and MYRTLs, and sat in my air conditioned car for a few minutes and drank a protein shake. I didn’t want to ride, but I have a triathlon coming up next month and I knew I had a packed weekend ahead of me, so I didn’t have much of a choice. The bike for this tri is 24.6 miles, so my goal was to ride 25 miles today.
My pace on the bike was about as good as my run pace, but I did about 1200′ of climbing on the ride. By the time I was done with the ride, I was DONE. I went home, forced myself to do 20 minutes of abs, and made a big lunch.
Thursday, 7/9 – Strength/Core/PT + 25 Mile Ride + 2 Mile Transition Run
It was pouring in the morning and I felt sluggish and off, so I headed to the gym and took my time with my workout. By the time I was done and I wrapped up some errands, it was sunny and hot outside. I met up with Emily and we did one of our usual loops with an extension at the beginning for a 25 mile ride. It was so hot, and by the time we got to about mile 17 on our ride, we had pretty much finished up all of our water. We were riding down this little back road in the middle of a bunch of cornfields, and there were some little girls outside of their house selling lemonade! We rode by but when it registered what it was, we turned back. They were charging a DOLLAR per cup! I seem to remember selling lemonade for like $.25…if that? Ha! It was warm (no ice, HA) but helped hold us over until we could get back to her house.
We headed out for a 2 mile run when we got back. I couldn’t fit a transition run anywhere else in my schedule this week, and I wanted to run six days this week. I did that last week (since I did a little shakeout for the Race Street Run) and I know that starting next week I have six runs scheduled per week from here on out. I want my body to be ready for that transition. My goal was to stick to my recovery range (8:20-9:01). We took her new dog, with us and we averaged 8:24/mile – perfectly even splits, too – same pace for the first and the second mile! Once I got moving, I felt pretty good. I also did this run in my Newtons! I think next week I’m ready to jump a little in miles in those shoes.
Friday, 7/10– 8 mile general aerobic run w/8×8 second hill sprints + Core
Begin my crazy weekend. I had to be at my sister-in-laws salon by 10:30 for a hair appointment and in Staten Island by 2:30 for a wedding. I got up early and headed out to the roads of Saucon Valley for my run. My goal was to keep the pace in my general aerobic range (7:14-8:14), but on the slower side since I had a long run planned for Saturday. I started slow, ended with a fast finish mile, and averaged 7:54 overall. I was really tired when I began but I did a perfect progression for the run and it really seemed to help ease me in to it! If only I could remember how well my body responds to that kind of thing on race day. I came home and did a plank workout and got ready for the wedding. It was so fun to get all dressed up, and such a happy occasion. The person getting married was a family friend I grew up with, and it was so great to see him so happy! My husband and I really enjoyed spending the night eating, dancing, and catching up with old friends.
Saturday, 7/11 – 12 Mile Progression Run, last 6 moderate
This run had all of the makings of “shit show” written all over it, and I was a little worried based on how terrible my runs had gone earlier in the week. The wedding reception went until 12:30, and we didn’t get home and to bed until after 2! I had a bridal shower that was 1.5 hours away on Saturday at noon, so I had to be up and out the door early. After 4 hours of sleep, I got up at 6:30am and headed out for my run. I was so tired, and I wanted so badly to do well on my run but I told myself before I started to just be kind to myself. If I wasn’t feeling it, don’t push it.
I began the run and started slowly, 8:11 pace. Felt good, so my next mile was 7:58. Told myself to keep it there and keep running comfortable, but my next mile was a 7:42! At this point, I passed this guy and didn’t want him to pass me back so my next mile was the one that threw off my progression – 7:31. I calmed down a little and did 7:34, then 7:33. I realized I was halfway and that I’d intended to see what I could do in this second half, but I proceeded cautiously. 7:24, 7:15, 7:13. Not bad. Last week I finished with a few sub-7s, and I didn’t know if I had three of those in me but I was feeling great and willing to try. Ended up with 6:53, 6:47, 6:47! I was trying SO hard to make that last mile the fastest one of the day but it ended up as a tie, and I was totally fine with that. I have no idea where this run came from – I spent the day before eating poorly, dancing for hours in huge heels, and got a terrible night’s sleep. I’m beginning to think I have this whole training thing wrong! Overall pace, 7:23. Yay! I made it to my friend’s bridal shower on time. It was at her family lake house in the Poconos, so I spent the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying being outside.
Sunday, 7/12 – 1.5 mile open water swim + 6 mile recovery run
I got a semi decent night’s sleep after all of the craziness of the first half of the weekend, but was up early and heading to Lake Nockamixon for the Steelman Open Water Swim. It was so nice to do a race where there was zero pressure. I am not a swimmer – I swam for a little while in middle school and my freshman year of high school so I know HOW to swim, I’m just not very fast. I did the OWS last year in about 50 minutes, so I hoped to be somewhere around there but wasn’t really gunning for any specific time. It was a gorgeous day on the lake:
Last year, I did a poor job sighting and my only real goal was to really focus on sighting and not swim any extra – which I did. I would count to 12 each time, and then look for the big orange buoys to make sure I was swimming in a straight line. I felt like I was really successful in that and never went far off course. I had so much fun – the sun was out in full force, and the water was beautiful. But when I got to the finish line and the volunteers helped me out of the water, I was shocked at what I saw. 54 minutes? Four minutes slower than last year? How is that possible? I felt like I was flying. I wasn’t really upset, just so confused. I made a mistake with my Garmin and never set it to enable the swim feature after I did a hard reset a few weeks ago so my distance was way off (said we swam 3.28 miles, ha!) but everyone that wore a watch said the same thing. The course was way long this year. Most people that swam the 1.5 mile event registered 1.78-1.84 on their watches – that’s huge! So if the course is a quarter mile long, that means we swam an extra 400 meters – which, for me, is about 7 extra minutes. In that case, I would have swam faster. Although my swim feature wasn’t enabled, I do have the maps comparing this year and last year and you can definitely see that it was much longer – particularly in how far out we swam:
Everyone in my group that participated in the swim from last year was consistently 3-4 minutes slower than their time last year, so that made me feel a lot better. I was 10th in my age group, which wasn’t too bad considering that pretty serious swimmers show up to these things.
After the race, Emily and I ran the trails around Lake Nockamixon for a recovery run. 6 miles, 8:43 pace, and a fast finish mile. It was super hot by this time, but we survived!
Swim: 5400 meters ♥ Bike: 50 miles ♥ Run: 47 miles
How was your week? Any races or great runs to rave about? Ever do an open water swim, or some other non-running related race?